Tuesday, May 13, 2014

French FM sharply criticizes Obama, says Assad still using chemical weapons; U.N. Mediator on Syria Quits

The Telegraph-UK reported last month that the Syrian regime was still using chemical weapons against civilians. "Chemical tests... now confirm that chlorine gas and ammonia have been used..., and that the toxins came from barrels that were dropped from helicopters, the Telegraph-UK reported. "The use in war of “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases” - both of which can be produced by chlorine and ammonia - is banned by the Geneva Protocol, of which Syria is a signatory."

Likewise, on Tuesday,  both the French Foreign Minister and Human Rights Watch also said that Syria has been using chemical weapons [chlorine gas] against civilians. The French Foreign Minister faulted President Obama for failing to heed his own "red line" pledge in dealing with Syria's chemical weapons attacks.

In a related development, UN peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi announced his resignation at UN headquarters on Tuesday. Reuters reported last month that Mr. Brahimi was planning on tendering his resignation "largely out of frustration at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's plans to hold an election in June." Reuters added that, "the vote is widely seen as a bid by Assad to defy widespread opposition and extend his grip on power." Another Western diplomat told Reuters: "Brahimi had indicated that he would resign if the election went ahead, so we're expecting his resignation."

From the AFP:
The United Nations peace envoy for Syria threw in the towel on Tuesday after failing to start a meaningful dialogue, as France accused Damascus of continuing to use chemical weapons.

In a double blow to the already frozen peace process, Lakhdar Brahimi announced his resignation at UN headquarters as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke in Washington.

Fabius accused Bashar al-Assad's regime of resorting to banned chemical weapons 14 times in recent months, despite having agreed to hand-over its deadly stockpile to international monitors.

"How much more destruction is there going to be before Syria becomes again the Syria we have known?" Brahimi asked as he confirmed weeks of rumors that he was stepping down.

Brahimi, who took over from the previous UN peace envoy in August 2012, said it was "very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state."...

Separately, [French Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius told reporters in Washington that the 14 reported incidents showed that "in recent weeks, new, smaller quantities of chemical arms have been used, mainly chlorine."...

Fabius complained that President Barack Obama had failed to carry out threatened strikes against the Syrian regime last year after a sarin gas attack near Damascus killed hundreds of people.

"We regret it because we think it would have changed lots of things ... but what is done is done, and we're not going to rewrite history," Fabius told reporters...

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday it has evidence that "strongly suggests" the Syrian government used chlorine gas on three towns in mid-April.

It documented attacks on the towns of Kafr Zita in central Hama on April 11 and 18, Al-Temana in Idlib on April 13 and 18 and Telmans also in Idlib province on April 21. All are areas under rebel control.

"Evidence strongly suggests that Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs embedded with cylinders of chlorine gas on three towns in northern Syria in mid-April 2014," Human Rights Watch said.
And the Syrian people can thank President Obama for that; he is clearly a strong and compassionate leader, and a man of his word.........

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